Thursday, July 30, 2020 Begins the Move to Beta

Law students who are finishing up the Legal Research Bootcamp sessions have likely already completed the module on and The session on mentioned that the content of the "classic" site was being migrated to a new "beta" site, which would launch officially at some time in the future.

Well, as is true for many of us during these times, it appears to be officially "Blursday" for Starting recently, Thursday is "Beta Day," meaning that the only version of that you will be able to access every Thursday is the beta. If you try to access the classic site on Thursdays, you will automatically be redirected to the beta one. This will be true even if you click on "For the official site, visit" link at the top of the beta site.

Although you can easily access the classic site on any other day of the week, if you did attempt to use it on a Thursday, you will have to either (1) clear your cache, or (2) use a different browser for your research in order to see the classic version again. (Confusing, we know! There should now be a banner at the top of either site with this warning...which appears on every day but Thursday). was launched with the stated purpose of encouraging greater public participation in the rulemaking process by creating, in essence, a "one-stop shop" for access to rules open for comment. Many agencies, in addition, use the portal as a place to receive comments directly from the public, making it as easy to submit one as pressing a button on the screen. Not all agencies, though, receive e-comments through, and a list of participating and non-participating agencies can be found here.

By redirecting patrons to the beta site every Thursday, the administrators are hoping to get more robust feedback on the usability, functionality, and tools it has to offer. Currently, there are several significant differences between the two versions, including:
  • Beta is built with a responsive design for better compatibility with mobile devices.
  • Beta automatically separates search results into Docket, Document, and Comment tabs, allowing for easier navigation between the results.
  • Beta currently lacks access to agency reports required by statute.
  • Beta no longer allows you to browse regulatory material by agency, as the administrators found it had "limited usage."
  • Beta does not currently allow you to export comments into a CSV file.

A more complete list of differences between the two versions can be found on the beta site’s FAQ page, along with justifications for the transition to the beta version and a history of its creation. For additional questions about using either the classic or beta site, or anything else related to regulatory research, please feel free to Ask a Librarian.

--Wickliffe Shreve, Faculty & Scholarly Services Librarian